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Sexual Pleasure during Condom-Protected Vaginal Sex among Heterosexual Men


Devon Hensel, PhD, Section of Adolescent Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, 410 W. 10th Street, Room 1001, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. Tel: (317) 274-8812; Fax: (317) 274-0133; E-mail:


Introduction.  Public health condom promotion efforts increasingly focus on the importance of sexual pleasure; however, little is known about sexual event-specific factors that may increase or decrease perceptions of sexual pleasure when condoms are used.

Aims.  To examine event-level factors associated with ratings of sexual pleasure during condom-protected vaginal intercourse.

Methods.  Data were collected in 2008 from 1,875 men during a prospective daily diary study of sexual behavior and condom use. Sexual pleasure was assessed during condom-protected vaginal intercourse considering situational, relational, intrapersonal, and behavioral predictors. Analyses were generalized estimating equation ordinal regression.

Main Outcome Measures.  Event-specific perceptions of sexual pleasure (three categories: not at all enjoyable to extremely enjoyable).

Results.  Vaginal intercourse was reported on 29.8% (N = 8,876/29,714) of diary days; complete condom use was reported for 59.1% (5,249/8,876) of all vaginal intercourse events. This was confusing by using the word “all sexual events.” Higher sexual pleasure ratings during complete condom use were associated with older age, manual stimulation of one's genitals, receiving oral sex, and performing oral sex. Sexual pleasure ratings also increased in association with intercourse duration, intercourse intensity, ejaculation, erection perception, and condom comfort. Sexual pleasure ratings were lower with erection difficulty and partner discomfort during sex.

Conclusions.  These data advance understanding of sexual pleasure during condom use, suggesting that sexual pleasure increases in conjunction with specific relational, physiological, and condom perceptions. These findings offer points upon which clinicians and health educators can engage men in an ongoing dialogue about augmenting sexual pleasure in the context of condom use. Hensel DJ, Stupiansky NW, Herbenick D, Dodge B, and Reece M. Sexual pleasure during condom-protected vaginal sex among heterosexual men. J Sex Med 2012;9:1272–1276.